Which is more environmentally friendly?

United States
February 9, 2008 4:21pm CST
Okay, I have been trying to decide if it if more environmentally friendly to use the old-fashioned wooden pencils or the refillable mechanical pencils. To make the wooden ones requires the use of wood. To make the plastic refillable ones one must make plastic (which I think requires petroleum). Both require that a plant be in operation and the plant is probably polluting the air. What is your opinion? Which is the lesser of the two evils?
3 people like this
7 responses
@JoyfulOne (6242)
• United States
9 Feb 08
I use refillable mechanical pencils. Sure it takes energy to make the shell of it, but that is only a one time deal. Since I only buy replacement leads for those pencils, there is no repeat cost or use of energy (or wood.) Each little refill pack of lead I get holds 12 pieces of lead. Looking at it from that standpoint, I have saved 12 pencils worth of wood, and the mechanical pencil only took energy (wood) to make it once. I get far more than 12 uses out of each mechanical pencil, and the ones I have are at least (maybe) 10 years old and still work fine. Assuming I put a new lead in once every week would = 52 pieces of pencils (wood) that were saved yearly, and in 10 years use/time, I would have saved roughly 520 pencils worth of wood (compared to the one times worth of energy and wood to make the one mechanical pencil.) 520 pencils doesn't sound like much, but if everybody used mechanical pencils can you imagine how many trees and energy would be saved in the production of them? I like mechanical pencils....they are always sharp, and never need you to find a pencil sharpener, plus in the long run, I think you save lots of money because you only buy your pencil once, and anything after that is a cheap set of leads. I think the mechanical pencil is the lesser of the 2 evils, and costs less energy and manufacturing.
3 people like this
• United States
9 Feb 08
Wow joyful, I managed to follow that, but had to read very slowly and deliberately. Ha! Your reasoning makes very good sense to me. However, I have noticed that my students tend to lose the mechanical ones and break them and whatnot. After each class period I pick up two or three and put them in a jar that we keep in the classroom. If only everyone was as careful wtih their mechanical pencils as you, it would really be great. It is wonderful that you have had yours for 10 years!
2 people like this
@JoyfulOne (6242)
• United States
10 Feb 08
Hehehehe...guess I was ramblin there huh? (Sorry bout that lol) I can see where it would be a problem with students losing them and such. I keep a mechanical one in my purse, and have one on my calendar by the phone, and of course, on my desk top. I tend to keep my stuff pretty well without breakage. Heck, I still have my fountain pens in use from back when I was in high school, and that's 40 years ago. (Guess I got my moneys worth out of them!)
1 person likes this
• India
10 Feb 08
friend this is truly a confusing question to answer. As if we use more of wooden pencil, its good as its biodegradable but on the other hand we need to cut more trees for them which is again a threat to environment . And in case of mechanical pencils they are not bio-degradable but they don't lead to deforestation. But then also i 'll insist to use wooden pencils.
2 people like this
@balasri (26554)
• India
10 Feb 08
Well definitely the wooden pencil is environmentally friendly as plastic is not biodegradable.There is war going against plastic bags and plastic things in our country.Wood used for a good cause like pencils is of very minuscule percentage compared to the amount of wood wasted for out vanity and vain glory.
2 people like this
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
10 Feb 08
We only buy "wooden" pencil made out of recycled paper. I would think those are the most environmentally friendly.
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@villageanne (8555)
• United States
9 Feb 08
I think this environmentally friendly stuff has gone too far. It has reached the point that I think we are using things that are much worse for us than the traditional items. Just my opinion
2 people like this
• United States
9 Feb 08
I would continue to buy the wooden pencils. I fined that plastic uncomfortable to hold in my hand. it's the way I hold the pencil as well. As for the environment I say the wooden one. I also buy the notebooks made of recycled papers.
2 people like this
@Winter08 (441)
• Canada
10 Feb 08
Several months ago when I was picking up replacement pencils for the office, I inadvertently bought a box that looked exactly like the yellow wood pencils. I didn't realize until I was trying to sharpen one that it was actually made from recycled plastic. It was much harder to sharpen. The recycling of the plastic, at first, sounds like a good idea. But because, in the sharpening process, the shavings are extremely small, there is seems to be little potential for re-recycling the plastic. Those almost indestructible shavings are going into the garbage and into the land fills. I think that the mechanical, the recycled paper, and the wood all have their places. But that recycled plastic pencil ...
• United States
10 Feb 08
Yeah, that does seem weird. It is great that it was from recycled plastic in the beginning, but it can't be recycled again. Food for thought..
1 person likes this